So far, climate-neutral flights still seem to be a dream of the future. But researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now developed an electric motor that should be able to power almost all aircraft.
Electromobility has become increasingly important in recent years. More and more people are opting for an electric vehicle, which is why emissions from road traffic are likely to fall in the long term. But electromobility has not yet arrived in one sector: the aviation sector.
That could change in the medium term, however. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been working on methods for electrifying aircraft of all kinds for some time. This includes not only small models, but also large passenger jets such as the Airbus A320.
New electric motor for aircraft has an output of several megawatts
After many years of research and development, a team of researchers wants to test a new megawatt electric motor soon. The researchers have thus achieved a new best value, as previous models only achieved several hundred kilowatts. However, this is usually not enough for commercial aircraft.
In addition to the higher performance, the system has another decisive advantage. It’s only the size of a suitcase and weighs about the same as an adult passenger. In the long term, the energy for the electric motor could come from a fuel cell or a battery. However, hybrid drives are also compatible with the system.
Electric motor: It is possible to change the type of drive during the flight
For example, aircraft could use kerosene to take off and switch to a battery during the flight. In order to achieve the high performance values, the motor contains, among other things, a rotor that is driven by magnets with different polarities. A heat exchanger is also part of the engine’s repertoire.
It remains to be seen to what extent the engine will perform in practice. If everything goes according to plan, the system could be used in the coming years. Then flights could become significantly more climate-neutral or completely climate-neutral.